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Cheapest rate you charge?

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  • Cheapest rate you charge?

    This is my first year at this and I am wondering what people cheapest rate is? I am not planning on dropping my trailer gate for no less than $25. The only way I would any cheaper is if I had a couple of customers in the same area and I would not have to move my truck. What do you guys do? I am in northern Ohio.

  • #2
    thats what I did last year, this year it's $29.95 because I have a little bit of a name now. keep in mind add-ons and size, gates.....

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    • #3
      Pretty much the same here.

      I have one that I took on for $15 that honestly, I could not have charged more for considering it was so very small. My hope was to pick up others nearby, but that didn't happen. His house sold, so I no longer have to deal with that one anyway.

      I also have two others that I charge $15 for that are part of a group of six homes - all in a row. I look at those two as a "gas money bonus". I could have turned them away, but I was going to be there anyway, so no time or mileage involved.

      Otherwise, mine all range from $25 to $40.

      This season, I will attempt to fill any remaining slots in my schedule with jobs of $35 or more - no sense filling out my schedule with low paying jobs.

      I try to get between .50 and $1.00/minute.

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      • #4
        Pretty much the same here.

        I have one that I took on for $15 that honestly, I could not have charged more for considering it was so very small. My hope was to pick up others nearby, but that didn't happen. His house sold, so I no longer have to deal with that one anyway.

        I also have two others that I charge $15 for that are part of a group of six homes - all in a row. I look at those two as a "gas money bonus". I could have turned them away, but I was going to be there anyway, so no time or mileage involved.

        Otherwise, mine all range from $25 to $40.

        This season, I will attempt to fill any remaining slots in my schedule with jobs of $35 or more - no sense filling out my schedule with low paying jobs.

        I try to get between .50 and $1.00/minute.
        The one thing I am trying to do is offer 10-20% discounts instead of lower prices. I figured by offering the discounts I will still be able to charge the higher rate with customers getting a deal with the discounted rate. Then next year I am not really raising rates I will just not be offering the bigger discounts. I have talked to a couple of other people and said you will lose most of your first year customers if you try to give out that low rate then raise it to try to make a profit.

        When it comes to invoicing I am going to show the original rate then apply there discounts to keep them aware of the discount.

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        • #5
          btw when I say I am rasing my mowing rates I mean to new customers. I do the same thing with sales that way my truck is out there doing good work and people see what I do. It's also good for slow times.

          What do you think your labor rate will be?

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          • #6
            Rates too low

            WOW!! My minimum charge is $45.00. I would not mow a yard for $15 no matter how small. The lowballers can have those accounts.

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            • #7
              WOW!! My minimum charge is $45.00. I would not mow a yard for $15 no matter how small. The lowballers can have those accounts.
              So essentially you're saying that you don't mow small yards?

              That's the only thing I can assume, since I doubt many people would pay you $45 for 5-10 minutes worth of work. (which is what it takes me to do my two $15 jobs - the ones next door to the higher paying jobs)

              I've had several people tell me that "X Mowing" wouldn't cut their lawn because it's "too small". I think some of that is because the guy has a minimum price and the lawn is not large enough to justify asking said price and some of it is because the guy is restricted to doing larger lawns by the equipment he uses.
              You can't use a ZTR in the "city", so there's a LOT of people out there mowing those lawns with push mowers or small walk behinds. Not all of them are lowballers.

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              • #8
                $15 won't even cover your load and unload time. Nor will it cover your equipment and gas expense. I price each job as a stand alone job, and yes I do have some small lawns ranging in size from 6000 to 12000 sq ft. And yes, I charge them $45 and they are happy to pay it after their experience with some of my competition. I am in business to make money, not occupy my time.

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                • #9
                  $15 won't even cover your load and unload time. Nor will it cover your equipment and gas expense. I price each job as a stand alone job, and yes I do have some small lawns ranging in size from 6000 to 12000 sq ft. And yes, I charge them $45 and they are happy to pay it after their experience with some of my competition. I am in business to make money, not occupy my time.
                  See, that's where things can get confusing when communicating in this medium.
                  Everyone has different lawns that they cut and different equipment they use. Additionally, some people work alone (myself), while others work with a crew.
                  All of these things are a factor in pricing and the types of lawns one is willing/able to take on.


                  The $15 lawn I cut is no more than 460-500 sq. ft. LOL!
                  The front "lawn" is smaller than my living room! (and my home is tiny) The back isn't much bigger.
                  I'm already unloaded (21" mower/blower/trimmer) to do the other 5 homes (all next to each other), so there is nothing extra to factor in.

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                  • #10
                    I guess we can agree to disagree. It seems to me that you are making his neighbors pay for travel time, unload, load, etc. while he gets all that for free. I wouldn't do it for 15 if it was only 10 sq ft. I operated an air conditioning company for 26 years, when we got called for an estimate only for repairs, we would be there maybe 10 minutes, and the bill would be 75 to 85 dollars. My rate for my estimates is based on 50 per hour, with a 45 minimum. I do not chase the stamp size neighborhoods, as I am not going to work 10 or 12 hours a day on low income lawns to make a living, and that seems to be the norm on that type of business. My clients are all high end and that is my business model. I typically work 6 hours a day and it is going to stay that way, or I will retire.

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                    • #11
                      so if the yard takes under 10 minutes total ,and $15.00 is charged ,that works out to $90.00 per hour less expenses ,and like has been stated ,he is already there,unloaded,and ready to go .I think that little lawn is probably paying the entire expenses gas wise for the 5 others he has at the same stop [probably with cash to spare], and I would also be willing to bet that little lawn earns the highest per hour of any other lawns he cuts .

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                      • #12
                        So what happens if he gets fired from the other lawns and he is left with a 15 dollar lawn to mow. Then he will be paying to mow that lawn, with his expenses. Besides, do the math, 1000 sq ft mowing, with I would guess about 150 ft of trimming, then blowing walks etc, in 10 minutes, plus time to move equipment from next door, sounds like a stretch to me.

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                        • #13
                          I guess we can agree to disagree. It seems to me that you are making his neighbors pay for travel time, unload, load, etc. while he gets all that for free. I wouldn't do it for 15 if it was only 10 sq ft. I operated an air conditioning company for 26 years, when we got called for an estimate only for repairs, we would be there maybe 10 minutes, and the bill would be 75 to 85 dollars. My rate for my estimates is based on 50 per hour, with a 45 minimum. I do not chase the stamp size neighborhoods, as I am not going to work 10 or 12 hours a day on low income lawns to make a living, and that seems to be the norm on that type of business. My clients are all high end and that is my business model. I typically work 6 hours a day and it is going to stay that way, or I will retire.
                          There's nothing to disagree about actually. We're just working completely different types of lawns and do things a little differently.

                          I DO understand your reasoning for not cutting anyone a break because you're already there, and what you said above about losing the others and being "stuck" with the $15, but these two were "add ons" for me - I got them after I had got the others. I could have easily said "No thanks" and found other clients nearby that would pay $25, but THEN I would have had to load up and drive elsewhere and unload.

                          For me, it's easy money - for someone else, it's a nuisance. You have to do what works for you.

                          Thanks for adding your thoughts though. We can all learn a thing or two when we hash things out.

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                          • #14
                            I guess my whole point is that each lawn should be priced on its own conditions, not as a group price. A group of lawns should benefit you, not the customer, on pricing. I know that is not the way it is usually done, but that is the way I do it.

                            Best of luck to you. It seems like you know your plan and are working your plan.

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                            • #15
                              I give $5 off each customer if they are right next door to each other. This way if one moves the discount goes a way. It's fair and it costs me time and money to move my stuff

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